Employee Spotlight: A Top 100 Intern Working on the Dream Chaser® Spacecraft

December 06, 2018

It's no secret that SNC attracts some of the most talented minds in the industry -- from executive vice presidents to interns. One is intern Carson Brumley, who is working at SNC's Space Systems Group on the Dream Chaser spaceplane. In fact, she was just named a "Top 100 Intern in the US" by WayUp, a job website for recent college grads.  Carson was chosen from a pool of more than 700 interns. WayUp says more than 40,000 votes were cast in their search for the most ambitious, passionate, and talented interns in the country.

Carson is also a member of the Brooke Owens Fellowship program, which is a paid internship and mentorship program for young women who want a career in aviation or space exploration. And so, we sat down with Carson, to learn what her experience at SNC has been like.

Where do you go to college?
I attend the University of Colorado at Boulder. I will be graduating in May. But I hope to return to CU for my master's degree.

What's your major?
Aerospace Engineering, and I have a background in bioastronautics.

How did you get your internship at SNC?
I'm actually a Brooke Owens Fellow, and while there are 41 of us from across the US, I'm the only one from Colorado. The fellowship actually partners each fellow with a mentor in the aerospace industry and so I got the internship through Tami Katz, who is now my mentor at SNC.

What’s something that you’ve learned while at SNC?
Before my internship, I didn’t know what it meant to work in a corporate office. But everyone is super helpful. And when I’m interested in different projects, I can go ask whomever, and they’re very happy to let me sit in on meetings, and get to know what else is going on in that project. I haven’t had any moments where someone pulled the, “you’re just a silly intern.” It seems like everyone is very grateful for the help.

What projects have you worked on at SNC?
My background is in bioastronautics, so I've been working on human factors analysis, where I go through and quantify every interaction between the International Space Station crew and the Dream Chaser. So essentially making sure that the equipment fits all sizes of astronauts. That's probably my favorite project so far.  So for example, a pressure nozzle must be big enough or small enough for astronauts to use, have proper lighting, women have to be able to turn every knob. I've also been doing a lot of work on functional architecture.

Were you surprised to be named one of the top 100 interns in the United States?
I was sort of shocked I got named a Top 100 Intern because the application is written, and then friends and family are supposed to vote for you. I didn't have as many votes as other people but I guess it's hard to compete with "I work on a spaceplane."

Do you hope to keep working at SNC after your internship ends?
This job is so much better than what I expected. My mentor Tami and I have decided that we'll continue working together as long as we can. I graduate in May so we can decide if I want to keep working as an intern or go full time.  I'm waiting to hear if I get into the CU bioastronautics master's program, so I could do both, which would be really cool. But it's pretty hard to want to leave when we could be launching the Dream Chaser.

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